By Steven G. MehtaSteve Mehta


As a mediator, being the in middle of the conflict, there are many occasions where your personality will get tested.  During those occasions, it is important for you to have done introspection to understand your own personal buttons so that they do not become a problem in the mediation.  It is enough to have two disputing parties.  There is no need to add a third actor in the mix.  As such, it is sometimes very important to be able to understand yourself first before you can understand others.

If you’ve taken a college psychology course or have any interest in personality, you’ve more than likely come across the term“Big Five” personality dimensions or personality traits. These have been gathered through the result of decades’ worth of psychological research into personality. While they don’t capture the idiosyncrasies of everyone’s personality, it is a theoretical framework in which to understand general components of our personality that seem to be the most important in our social and interpersonal interactions with others.

Decades of research on personality has uncovered five broad dimensions of personality. These so-called Big Five dimensions are called:

  • Extraversion (your level of sociability and enthusiasm)
  • Agreeableness (your level of friendliness and kindness)
  • Conscientiousness (your level of organization and work ethic)
  • Emotional Stability (your level of calmness and tranquility)
  • Intellect (your level of creativity and curiosity)

These are not “types” of personalities, but dimensions of personality. So someone’s personality is the combination of each of their Big Five personality characteristics. For example, someone may be very sociable (high Extraversion), not very friendly (low Agreeableness), hard working (high Conscientiousness), easily stressed (low Emotional Stability) and extremely creative (high Intellect).

Because people can be high or low on each of the Big Five dimensions, when we combine the different possible combinations, we end up with 45 personality facets from which we can compute Big Five personality scores.

?Want to learn more?
Take the free Personality Patterns test to see how you score on the Big 5 personality dimensions.  Both my wife and I took the test and found it to be very accurate and fun.